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Horse scene in Australia, specifically Brisbane

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  • Horse scene in Australia, specifically Brisbane

    I just had a job interview for a position in Australia. I've never been there and I'm curious about horse riding and ownership, specifically in or near Brisbane. Is it possible to live in Brisbane and own a horse? Is it necessary to own a car? How much does it cost to maintain a horse hobby in Australia? Showing? I would appreciate any information. Of course, I don't know if I have the job yet, but once I interview, I do allow myself to dream a bit.

    And the dreaded question...how much does it cost to bring a horse to Australia from the US? He's currently a hunter, but he could do jumpers or dressage.

  • #2
    Ok first off hunters basically don't exsist here in Oz. We do have "show hacks" which i think is the closest thing to hunters but I'm not even sure if they do any jumping. (Haven't been involved with them at all and haven't been to a hack show).

    Shipping horse to Oz is probably 10K +. I have heard it being close to 20K due to pretty strict quarantine rules that were put in place after the EI outbreak a few years ago.

    Brisbane is a nice city , only been there briefly a couple years ago. Brisbane is a city of 2 million. Not sure about transportation but my guess will that you will need a car to get out to where ever you keep your horse or work. What I have found is that there aren't alot of riding stables per say. Most people seem to keep their horses on their own land outside... will stress the outside part. Even at shows most horses are kept in small yards or in yards next to float ( trailer).

    Showing: Pony Club is super popular here. I believe their are adult classes at the pony club shows. Lots of eventing. Being up in Queensland, there will be a lot of western events as well.

    Check out this link for events and horse stuff. http://myaushorse.com/

    Can't really give you any details about horses around Brisy unfortunately. I do believe we have a couple members in that area so hopefully they find this page. I do know that there is/was a bit of an Hendra virus outbreak but I think that is dying down.

    One question I have for you, has the employer mentioned anything about visas yet? I'm guessing your not an Aussie resident who just happens to be living outside the country. Something to think about or ask during you interview. Depending what you want it can be a tough and a very looooooong process. ( ask how i know this! lol )

    Hoep this helps. Feel free to PM me with questions!

    A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!


    • #3
      I am in Western Sydney, the horse scene is huge all around Australia. But then again...I haven't been to the US to compare ha ha! But if you get the job, definitely try it, Australia is lovely and the people are great


      • Original Poster

        The employer didn't discuss the visa situation, although I had to state my visa status on my application so they are aware that I don't have one. The position is at a university, so I'm guessing that they might have a straightforward process for obtaining a visa? They seem to have attracted many international researchers to their program so there must be a way.

        Hmmmmm...10K to bring my horse might be do-able. 20K not so much.


        • Original Poster

          Well I got the job. Now I REALLY want to know about riding in and around Brisbane!


          • #6
            There is really nothing like Hunters here. Our version of showing is closer to dressage, all on the flat. We do have show jumping though which is the same as your Jumpers, amd dressage and eventing. You'll find showing MUCH cheaper here, and you could probably find full board within 30-60 minutes of the city for around $150 per week at the most.

            Quarantine is probably the most expensive part of bringing a horse over.. You'd quite easily be looking at $20k+ for the whole process. Horses are cheaper to buy over here as well though.. I know there is bound to be the sentimental aspect with your current horse, but you'd probably be surprised at what you can buy for a reasonable price here.
            Public transport is relatively good in the city, but a car would still be helpful, especially if you have to board a way out of the city.


            • Original Poster

              Ok, so I would have to sell my horse.

              Do boarding facilities usually have trainers in-house?


              • #8
                Most often not. I lived (and had horses) in Sydney and Perth for 18 years and I think from what I've heard about horse ownership in the States, it's very different. A lot cheaper, for a start! Very few horses live in stables, however a large yard with WIWO (walk in, walk out) is common. That is simply a 3 sided stable so the horse can walk in and out at will. It's also a lot more relaxed - nose chains are pretty well unheard of, or colt bits (except for racehorses). Very few places have cross-ties - horses just tie up to a ring or a rail. As polydor said, even most show venues don't have proper stables - horses are contained in open yards or just tied to the truck/float for the day. There are always agistment centres around to keep your horse at - I think that's the equivalent of your "barn".
                Best of luck with your move! I'm sure you'll love it over there =)


                • #9
                  I lived in Canberra for two years and kept my pony in a communal paddock. I was young and it was my first horse and knowing what I know now I probably wouldn't do it but ignorance was bliss and I had the time of my life. Pony Club over there is like girl scouts over here- EVERYONE does it and EVERYONE owns a horse/pony because its so damn cheap.

                  There is very little formal instruction. I used to ride through public and private property to meet up with my friends. So much fun!

                  I know this doesn't help but I loved Australia and would love to live there again someday!

                  Is your job a horse job or "regular" job? How long are you planning on staying? They do have some quality stock over there for cheap and its easy to resell especially if you get the horse exposure at pony club and shows...my pony was sold in 3 days with 8 offers (all but one from fellow pony clubbers!) Ifyour only going for a few years you could lease to someone over here....its so cheap with horses over there that you could probably foot both bills or part of the one in the us
                  "Using draw reins without spurs is like going to the bar with no underwear on. You're just waiting to get f***ed."


                  • #10
                    I live near Canberra. We are an American family who came over on a 3 year assignment and 12 years later are still here, now with permanent residency.

                    I don't know much about the horse scene near Brisbane, but we bought a horse from up there and it all seems to be happening!

                    I think there is a lot more formal instruction now, at least from our experience. Almost too much in my area with several top level eventers and show jumpers. Not so much dressage though.

                    Agree that it is super expensive to bring a horse here, but people do it all the time. You can do part of the quarantine in the US. I just spoke with an American eventer, married to an Aussie, who is in the process of bringing 2 over now. She chose to have her horses do the quarantine in the US and New Zealand. Then she just picks them up at the airport in Sydney. They can also come by boat from NZ.

                    It's way cheaper to take a horse to the US, so you might be able to buy something here to take back with you.

                    My farrier's sister is a top level showjumper. My daughter's coach is breeding show jumpers as her daughter is a top level junior. I can ask them about who's who in Queensland if you like?

                    Anyway, congrats on the job. I think you will love Australia!


                    • Original Poster

                      Well this is interesting to read about. I've browsed some ads, and it is MUCH cheaper to keep a horse - even near Brisbane. Heck, the money that I would save on board over the 3-5 year job duration would pay for the shipping to and from. I still don't know if my current horse would be suitable for me over there though, although he did event several years ago.

                      The job isn't in the horse industry - it is at the university.


                      • #12
                        PM Eventrider aka Christian Trainor, noted by ozjb. Christain moved to Austalia several years ago and is now married. She will be able to the best info.

                        Good luck!
                        "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                        Courtesy my cousin Tim


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks, I will!


                          • Original Poster

                            Just posting to update the thread on the costs of shipping a horse from the US to Australia - I received some quotes and all were around 20-25K, not including shipping within the US and Australia.


                            • #15
                              Yup that sounds about right. I know a lot of TB breeders quit importing mares from US when the price basically doubled after the EI outbreak. And then I believe the shipping/flight has become fairly long and numerous stop overs.

                              A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!


                              • #16
                                Sorry to be late to the party, but I have been in Adelaide at the 3-day event. First off, it is about 30,000 USD per horse to bring them over here. It is a long and strenuous process taking 8 weeks of quarantine and the horse is totally out of your hands.
                                Keeping horses here has been way more expensive than in the US. A bag of feed here is $22 for the low end and $48-$50 for something like equijewel. The board costs are per week, NOT per month, so if you find a place at $150 a week that is $600 a month, but usually only includes one flake of hay a day and one feeding of a scoop of cheap feed over the fence in a big communal paddock. Some horses do well like that, some do not. So then you have to buy your horses feed on top of that....which at $40 a bag really adds up quickly.
                                Farriers are about the same cost as in the states. Fuel prices are more than double. Cost of living is more than double. For example. I sold my F-350 dually before coming over here for about $30,000usd and my 6 horse head to head trailer for about $15,000 usd. I bought a little Toyota truck the equivalent of a T-100 here and it cost $70,000 AUD. I bought a 2 horse bumper pull trailer with a small dressing room (had to have it made as they dont do anything like that here!) and it was $25,000 AUD. Now hows that for expensive? An F-250 used here is over $100,000. It costs me $140 to fill up my diesel truck with the long range tank on it once a week here.
                                There is no such thing as the hunters, nothing even comes close. There are jumpers, but it is not on the same scale. Everything will seem very backyard, even though it isnt. I think that the horses are much happier here the way they are kept, but it is not the scene you are used to. There is little instruction and no in house instructors like you are thinking. If you are at a boarding place, the riders will all do a bit of everything...trail riding, stock horses, pony club, etc.
                                The horses are not cheaper or nicer over here, hence me bringing 3 horses with me instead of buying one here. The cost of keeping a horse well over here adds to the price of the horse pretty quickly. There is not the same market for selling horses here either.
                                It really all depends on what you are looking to do. If you want to come over and work and get a horse on the side to go ride and groom them a few days a week, and have a few lessons here and there with whomever you can find, then you can probably buy a horse for under $10,000 that will suit and be comparable to the same thing in the US. If you want to come here and compete and train then you will have some adjusting to do. There will not be anyone here to look at your horse when you are not there, or blanket and unblanket them. I have started a place doing it like that and it seems quite novel to most people. If you do find a place like that, expect to pay about $220-250 a week per horse.
                                I am quite happy here in regards to the horse people...they are all lovely and awesome people. But the venues are not focused on the footing, etc like we are used to, and everything has a bit of a backyard barbeque feel, which is what people like here.
                                I dont want to dissuade you, just want to make sure you have all the facts straight. I ended up not bringing over and furniture or other effects because it takes 12 weeks on a boat to get here and cost a small fortune! Import taxes and fees are killer. I did mail about 100 boxes of my clothes and horse gear over here, which cost a few thousand dollars. Another thing to note is that you should expect all horse gear to cost double here what it does in the US and you wont be able to get most of what you can get there. There are no rubbermaid containers, no tack boxes, no buckets even! People use pans and big tubs instead of buckets! A set of brushing boots will cost you $100. A set of reins is $150. A lesson will run you anywhere from $70-150 depending on the instructor.

                                Let me know if you have any other questions!


                                • #17
                                  Wowee eventrider, I am Australian born & bred & you've almost convinced me to leave it & move to the states! It sounds so much better than Oz!!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by RillRill View Post
                                    Wowee eventrider, I am Australian born & bred & you've almost convinced me to leave it & move to the states! It sounds so much better than Oz!!
                                    Many female equestrians want to leave that part of the world and come here to make a go at working in the industry. Ask me how I know that.
                                    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


                                    • #19
                                      Sorry RillRill,

                                      Promise I wasnt trying to sound negative about Australia at all. I love it here and I wouldnt trade the horse people here for the states for a million bucks! But I think I was a bit niave in my impressions before moving over here and I figured that before someone makes a life changing move they should have a clear picture. That said, I am here and love it here, and like I said I am shipping 2 more horses over at the moment. I think the way horses live and are cared for here is much better than in the states, but it is really really different and someone coming over thinking they will find the same thing will be disappointed for sure. I dont see anything wrong with my horses living outside 24/7 and in yards at shows, but many US riders would die over it!! LOL
                                      I do miss my dually and trailer though.......


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by LexInVA View Post
                                        Many female equestrians want to leave that part of the world and come here to make a go at working in the industry. Ask me how I know that.
                                        Ummm....How do you know that?! Is it worth it? I know one of my old friends recently moved to Canada and loves it. I don't think she'll ever come home.

                                        eventrider that's totally cool! I'm not offended at all! I think it's great you have experienced both. I love Australia but travelled to Germany last year and I reckon I could live there quite happily
                                        ...A dually is a ute/truck?